China's One Belt One Road program

Keith Krach 03.30.2021

CCP Abuses & American Company Transparency

Under Secretary of State, Keith Krach speaks on human rights abuses under CCP and what we can do about it

Keith Krach: Citizens around the world are waking up to the truth about the Chinese Communist Party’s three-pronged strategy of concealment, cooperation, and coercion. What I’ve come to learn in my role of running economic diplomacy for the United States State Department, is that nowhere is this CCP doctrine more pronounced than the mass internment camps of Xinjiang, which started out as proving grounds for their Big Brother surveillance state strategy on two million Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups. These facilities have turned into expressions of concealment and deception for the PRC’s cultural genocide of the Uighurs. These overcrowded gulag-like camps have gone beyond the CCPs traditional coercive tactics, and they’ve morphed into human rights abuses of epic proportions. By forced sterilization, abortion, torture, and sexual abuse. Up to this point, the CCP has succeeded in co-opting U.S. companies by entangling Xinjiang supply chains and concealing its slave labor that serves their companies all over China. What makes matters worse is that the average American investor unknowingly has been providing money necessary to fuel CCP’s authoritarian machine. And the American technology has been transferred, bought, or stolen to create a surveillance state that history’s most repressive dictators could have only dreamed of. The good news is we can do something about it. The United States State Department issued a business advisory for supply chain exposure to entities engaged in forced labor and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang. This, coupled with the recent identification of 33 Chinese firms and institutions put on the entity list with sanctions. I’ve sent a letter to all the CEOs of United States companies, financial institutions, universities, and non-profits to ask that they publicly disclose any Chinese companies that they invest in or do business with. And this is a start. Transparency is critical because transparency is visibility and visibility is accountability. American investors and consumers will want to know whether their money is going to businesses that prop up CCPs surveillance state or human rights abuses. We want American companies to prosper. But not on the backs of these forced laborers. Board of directors from all companies and institutions have a moral responsibility and a fiduciary duty to divest from companies that violate basic human rights. At a very minimum, they should disclose to their constituents the Chinese companies they invest in. You know, I guess the government could always require companies to disclose their Chinese investments. But as a former chairman and CEO of public companies, I never like really to be told what to do by the government. So for all the board members out there, it might be good to get out ahead on this one. Finally, the biggest difference-maker in ending human rights abuses like the ones in Xinjiang is each individual citizen. As my 94-year-old mother says, "If it is to be, it’s up to me." So if your broker invests in an emerging index fund, if your university has an endowment, if you have a pension plan or invest in a mutual fund, ETF, private equity, or venture fund, see if they disclose Chinese investments. Ask them, if they won’t give it to you, then maybe something’s wrong. Do your own due diligence and don’t be fooled by the Cayman Island companies or the ones with American names and let your voice be heard. And who knows, you may make a difference. You may make a little difference, a big difference, but most of all, you’re going to make a meaningful difference. Who knows, you might even start a movement.